Tag Archives: People Magazine Investigates

Crime Time ~ Hometown Homicide ~ “Local Girl Gone”

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean ~ 

 

Hometown Homicide, Season 1, Episode 2, “Local Girl Gone”

Hope Mills, North Carolina – March 11, 2014

Small town high school teen Danielle Locklear was a pretty, bubbly, fun-loving, popular fifteen-year-old. She lived with her grandparents instead of her mother, because she wanted to go to  high school in their town, where she’d made many friends during her summer visits. Although she was just a freshmen, she began dating senior, Je’Michael Malloy, a responsible young man with plans to enter the military, along with his best friend, Dominic Lock.

One evening in March, 2014, Danielle asks her grandfather if she can go down the street to return a book her friend needs for homework. The grandfather gives her permission but tells her to hurry back. After a few hours when she doesn’t show up, her family begins trying to contact her. When they are unable to reach her, they call the police. Her mother is worried sick and travels to Hope Mills.

Detectives begin investigating. Friends and family spread flyers and the entire town bands together to search for the missing teen. Some of the interviews the police conducted are shown on the show. They interview her boyfriend and ask him about their relationship. He states that they were off and on and he finally broke it off completely because the spark was no longer there. He says, “She was a good girl, and I cared about her a lot.” That statement caught my attention. At this time, she’s only missing, but he says she ‘was’ a good girl–past tense. Nothing is said about it on the show but it raised a red flag for me. The authorities don’t suspect him, however. From all reports, he was a good kid and their relationship, even after the break up, was civil. Je’Michael claims he was at a friend’s house the night she disappeared. A text sent from his cell phone backs up his statement. Records show that it pings on a tower near the home.

Chena, Danielle’s aunt, decides to investigate on her own. She starts with a creek near the grandparents’ house where the teens in the area are rumored to hang out. There was also talk that it was the last place Danielle was seen alive. At the creek, her aunt finds a sock she believes belongs to Danielle.

No other clues are found and weeks go by with no sign of Danielle. Her boyfriend suggested that she might have killed herself. He said that she told him she wanted to drown herself in cold water.

One day, just more than three weeks after her disappearance, an off duty officer is on his way home and, as he drives over a bridge, he spots something in the creek that doesn’t look right. He calls it in and a retrieval team comes out. They pull Danielle’s body from the brown water. She is bound with nylon rope tied to cinderblocks. The matching sock to the one her aunt found is stuffed in her mouth. The autopsy determines that she was strangled to death.

Police continue the investigation, now looking for her killer, rather than looking for her. The creek where she is found is only a mile from his home but fifteen miles from the place where she was last seen.

The police obtain a search warrant for Malloy’s house and property. Next to the garage, they find distinctive cinderblocks speckled with pebbles — a match for the ones at the lake. They also find the same type of nylon rope.

They bring Malloy back in for an interview, and he plays it cool, continuing to deny he killed Danielle. He tells them, “You think I’m a smart kid, right?” they say they do. He says, “Why would I put her body just down the street from where I live?” But the police aren’t convinced. He takes a polygraph, which he fails. He claims he failed it because he’s nervous. They continue to pressure him. He finally breaks. He admits he killed Danielle. She asked him to meet her that night at the creek hangout. His friend, Dominic was nearby. She told Je’Michael that she was pregnant. A baby was not in his plans. He told her that he would take responsibility if the child was his, but he never wanted to be with her, ever. She flipped out and they fought. He ends up choking her to death. He goes to get his friend, who is shocked when Je’Michael tells him he killed her. Malloy says they have to get rid of the body. They load her body in the car and Je’Michael shoves the sock in her mouth because he can’t stand the noises her body was making.

As is turns out. Je’Michael had left his phone at home and sent the text through a secondary phone app. It also turns out that Danielle was not pregnant after all. She told him that to try to keep him with her. Instead, it got her killed.

Je’Michael Malloy pleads guilty to murder in the second degree. Dominic Lock, for his role in dumping Danielle Locklear’s body, pleads guilty to accessory to murder. Je’Michael Malloy is sentenced to a maximum of twenty-five years in prison. Dominic Lock is sentenced to six years behind bars.

Je’Michael Malloy will be eligible for parole when he is 43 years old. I can’t help but think it’s a shame that he’ll still have a chance at some kind of life, but the poor girl didn’t get that chance. And her family will have to live with the horror of her savage murder for the rest of their lives. The fact that he left his phone at home and used a cell phone app to send a text shows a bit of premeditation. He had to have planned it.

What do you think? Should he ever be released or should he spend the rest of his life behind bars?

[I love true crime shows, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 ) I love Investigation Discovery and watch many of the various shows, although some are a little too cheesy. However, there are plenty of shows that are done well enough to feed my fascination with murder. Each week, I’ll blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts.]

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Crime Time ~ People Magazine Investigates ~ “Connecticut Horror Story”

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean ~ 

 

People Magazine Investigates, Season 2, Episode 4, “Connecticut Horror Story”

Cheshire, Connecticut July 23, 2007

Jennifer Petit and her eleven-year-old daughter, Michaela, were shopping for groceries for Jennifer’s birthday dinner, which Michaela planned to prepare. Unbeknownst to them, they were spotted by Joshua Komisarjevsky . He and his pal were planning to find a rich family to rob, and the Petits fit the bill. He called his friend, Steven Hayes, and the plan was put into motion. Supposedly, they only planned to rob them and leave. They waited until the wee hours, while the family was sleeping. When they arrived, they found the father, William Petit, asleep on the sofa. They beat him over the head with a bat they found in the yard, then tied him up in the basement. They then went upstairs and bound and gagged Jennifer and her two daughters, Michaela, 11, and Hayley, 17.

The criminals robbed the home but were not satisfied with their haul. They found a bank book showing the balance in the account, and decided to have Jennifer withdraw money for them. The bank would not be open until 9 a.m., which was 7 hours away. With the family tied up, they drove the family’s vehicle to a nearby gas station and, using the Petits’ credit card, filled gas cans with $10 worth of gas. Then, they returned and spent all that time in the home with the family as they waited for the bank to open. From what I understand, during that time, there was no abuse, no sexual assault. They treated their victims decently.

At nine a.m., Hayes drove Jennifer to the bank. The teller told Jennifer she was unable to withdraw the money without her husband present as well. Jennifer wrote a note on the withdrawal slip stating that her children were being held hostage and would be killed if she didn’t get the money, and that if the police were called, her children would be killed. The teller contacted the bank manager. The manager spoke to Jennifer who showed her a picture of her daughters. A mother herself, the bank manager knew Jennifer was being truthful. She approved the withdrawal but went into her office and called the police. As she was on the phone with them, Jennifer left the bank.

The police first showed up at the bank, thinking there was a situation there. When they learned there was not, they headed to the Petit house. By this time, William Petit had escaped the basement through the doors which led into the yard. He called out to a neighbor who rushed over to help him. The police spotted the men and thought at first they might be the perpetrators. Mr. Petit told them his family was in the home, in danger. When it was established these men were not the criminals, Mr. Petit was rushed to the hospital.

The police were formulating a plan and setting up a perimeter around the home. While this was taking place, the home went up in flames. The criminals tried to escape in the family’s SUV, but were quickly apprehended. Jennifer, Hayley and Michaela were found dead inside the home. They’d been raped and strangled and suffered smoke inhalation.

A lot of criticism was aimed at the police for their handling of the situation. They never tried to make contact with the criminals. They wasted too much time without taking action. It appears that the sexual assaults and murders happened after the police had arrived. From the time the bank manager called to the time the house was set on fire, 50 minutes or so had passed. Critics assert that the police could have acted more quickly and saved the family.

Authorities later learned that the criminals saw the police outside the home and doused it with gasoline and set it on fire.

I am certain things could have been done differently by many of those involved. I have to wonder a few things…

  • If the bank manager hadn’t called the police at all, would the killers have let the family live? I have my doubts. They purchased the gasoline hours earlier, obviously they had a purpose in mind.
  • If they had delayed Jennifer in the bank, would the police have been able to stop the crime?
  • If the police had ascended on the home, would the murders not have happened? My thought is that they likely still would have. The killers took action when they knew police were there, so I’m not sure that converging on the home would have made a difference. In hindsight, it would have been worth a try.
  • Why did the killers only commit the rapes and murders the next morning, when police were outside, when they had all night? I assume it was because they had to keep the women calm in order to get Jennifer to make the withdrawal.
  • Why on earth would the killers go ahead and murder the family, knowing they wouldn’t get away? At that point, they had only committed home invasion/kidnapping/robbery. Why add murder charges?

When the cowardly, sick, evil monsters were interviewed, they blamed one another. Komisarjevsky  confessed to sexually assaulting 11 year old Michaela. He called her ‘KK’, a nickname the family gave her, which somehow makes the horror even more sickening. He also took photos of the sexual abuse.

His interview with police, during which he gleefully recounted the tragic details of his assault on the child, was played during his trial. His three court-appointed defense lawyers asked the judge to call a mistrial citing the grief shown on the faces of the Petit family members in court as the interview was played unfairly affected the jury. What???? Wow. Yes, let’s not be unfair to a murdering, heartless POS.

Both ‘men’ were convicted and sentenced to death. However, in 2015, Connecticut abolished the death penalty, and their sentences were commuted to life.  Jennifer’s sister was interviewed on the show, and she said she had always been against the death penalty, but she changed her mind after what her sister and nieces suffered. She thought the killers should be executed.

Later, in a diary Komisarjevsky kept, an entry was found where he called William Petit a coward and said he could have stopped it any time. Wow. The nerve.

William Petit managed to rebuild his life. The home was torn down and he built a beautiful memorial garden in its place. He remarried in 2012 to Christine Paluf, with whom he has a young son. In 2016, he was elected to the Connecticut legislature.

How do you think you would have acted had you been the bank manager? Jennifer? The police? Would you have done anything differently?

[I love true crime shows, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 ) I love Investigation Discovery and watch many of the various shows, although some are a little too cheesy. However, there are plenty of shows that are done well enough to feed my fascination with murder. Each week, I’ll blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts.]

 

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